Back in November United announced a huge award chart devaluation, which kicks in for bookings made on or after February 1, 2014.
Premium cabin Star Alliance awards are being hit the hardest, and in some cases the cost of premium cabin redemptions will increase ~100%. You can compare the old and new charts here:
Anyway, the key here is that bookings made through January 31, 2014 qualify for the old award rates, so in the next week you can book awards at the old rates through the end of the schedule.
I’ve written about the upcoming changes to the award chart quite extensively, but thought I’d highlight a few posts that are hopefully helpful with making last-minute bookings:
- The best uses of United MileagePlus miles pre-devaluation
- Star Alliance airlines with the best first class award availability
- Star Alliance airlines with the best business class award availability
- A possible way to lock in MileagePlus awards (including Lufthansa first class) for future travel at pre-devaluation rates
The single most common question I’ve been asked is what kind of changes to award tickets will be allowed on/after February 1.
To the best of my knowledge, if you just change the date or flight time you won’t be charged the difference in miles, but rather just the change fee.
Meanwhile if you change the routing, origin, destination, airline, or class of service, you’ll be charged at the new award rates, in addition to the change fee.
If you’re speculatively locking in a booking with the intent of changing the dates at a later time I’d highly recommend booking a routing that’s usually fairly available.
The last thing you want to do is lock in an award at the old rates for a product or routing that’s impossible to find space on, which would force you to either pay the redeposit fee to get the miles back or pay the new award costs.
Lastly, keep in mind that tickets are valid for one year from the date of issue, meaning all travel has to be complete within a year of the date the ticket is issued. Not just the outbound flight, but all segments.
If anyone has any questions, ask away below – I’m here to help! Happy redeeming!